Cigar/Scotch Review: Oliva Connecticut Reserve and Aberlour A’Bunadh

Welcome back. Today we are going to take a look at a couple of rather interesting products that are pretty much on total opposite ends of the spectrum but are excellent in their own right. We shall start with the topic of today’s cigar review, which was recommended to me by the employee stocking the walk-inumidor  at Spec’s in Downtown Dallas when I went for a beer and liquor run (and that I’d have never picked up on my own otherwise).

Oliva Connecticut Reserve

This offering from Oliva features, predictably, a claro shade Connecticut wrapper over Nicaraguan binder and filler. The size reviewed here is a 7″ x 50RG Churchill. It’s billed as a mild but complex cigar, but is it? Let’s find out!

The first light revealed a perfect draw producing a large volume of smoke. Medium body out of the gate with a zesty wood and pepper, not too unusual of a start to a Connecticut cigar but with more substance.

Getting into the first third the body settles to mellow mild/medium and gets very creamy with a natural sweetness that sometimes has a vanilla connotation. There is also a subtle, fleeting cocoa on the draw. The woody note loses its initial bite and takes on a very light, bright cedar, particularly on the retrohale. Consistent flavors start to finish while the body waffles between a mild/medium and a medium – one draw seems to be stronger/weaker than the next for some reason. Ending at 1 hour 20 minutes for a slightly fast burn time for a Churchill but not at all unusual for a Connecticut blend. No detectable nicotine strength.

Flawless construction with a razor sharp burn while the ash hold on solidly for about an inch and a half at a time.

Honestly, this cigar reminded me a lot of the previously reviewed Padron Damaso at half the price. It’s still rather expensive for a milder cigar IMO (about $6-9/stick depending on vitola) but it’s definitely a notch above a vast majority of Connecticuts in terms of flavor and complexity. This would be a perfect cigar to start your day along with a cup of coffee.  Rating: 4/5.

Aberlour A’Bunadh

This single-malt Scotch from Aberlour distillery is aged in sherry casks and bottled at cask strength. The batch reviewed here weighs in at 61.1% ABV (122 proof).

Appearance is a deep, rich honey color and leaves substantial lacing when swirled in the glass. Aromas of sherry, honey, brown sugar and dark fruit on the nose, along with a hint of anise and licorice. The attack features flavors of toffee, orange/citrus, molasses and dark chocolate. A sweet cinnamon/nutmeg spice on the middle of the palate followed by a full-flavored, warming, oaky finish supported by the sherry cask maturation. A subtle black cherry note comes out as the long finish starts to fade. Very thick on the palate, almost syrupy.

This was an absolutely mouthwatering Scotch and one I’d recommend to all Scotch drinkers, whether or not you tend to prefer cask strength. You just can’t go wrong with it and it’s priced competitively in terms of cask strength Scotches. Pair with a full-bodied, heavy, dessert-like cigar for best results (the previously reviewed Marrero Fuerte pictured above with the Scotch was a match made in absolute heaven). Rating: 5/5.

Have you had either of today’s selections? Let me know what you thought in the comments!

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